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12:26 p.m. - August 17, 2004
Late: The Aftermath
Made it to the classroom at 8:58 a.m., minutes before a woman came to post the "Professor Arriving Late" sign. This is a good lesson for me - just because my pattern, my schedule, was disrupted, the sky did not fall. Badness did not accrue in a domino effect: There were no fender benders, road construction, back ups, disapproving supervisors, disengaged students, ill-prepared teacher, gas-gauge-on-E, people calling into question my conduct or professionalism. Nothing bad happened and while the threat of punishment for disrupting my pattern still hangs over my head (after all, I do have a drive home), I'm somewhat astonished and afraid. Waking up late threw me off balance and balance is key to my worldview; recalibration requires taking something away from my end of the seesaw. What will it be? There must be something, there will be something - there always is.

But what if there weren't? What if this is something I needed to purge the craziness I try so hard to hide? My life isn't step-on-a-crack-break-your-mother's-back but it is an exacting give-take where I'm the supplicant and punisher both, appeasing the dark shadows that flit over my shoulders seeking to pounce at indiscretion and failure.

What should have happened:

I overslept, arrived to class late, with half the students waiting as they were asked to and the other half taking off, my supervisor finds out and chides me for being late, I feel terrible and incompetent. As punishment, no dinner or no sleep (better to ensure I don't oversleep again), the onus on me to be a far more engaging and successful teacher Wednesday. A tidy balance, nice and neat.

What did happen:

I overslept, completed bowel movement and shower in record time (is that what causes hemorrhoids?), didn't have to shave because I shaved yesterday, dressed and ironed my shirt, was on the road by 8:15 a.m. Raced down the parkway to the beltway and then to the Georgetown Pike, right up to the gates, found a spot in front of the building, ran up the steps and down the hall, and made it into my classroom to be greeted by 2, with the remainder traipsing in a moment later. Taught the lesson, released them for lunch. And now I sit in my office wondering how I pulled it off.

How did I pull it off, and what will be exacted later? See how this mind betrays me, how it splits and does as it pleases? It would be simple enough to say I was late and the morning worked out well, period, end of story, case closed. Substitute normal for simple and I see how far I have to go until these things can be shrugged off.


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